Castello di Ama L'Apparita 2017
96 points - Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, May 2020
I am immediately struck by the power and concentration of the Castello di Ama 2017 L'Apparita. This is an exuberant and gregarious expression of Merlot that has absorbed every last sunbeam of the hot summer season. On the nose, the wine shows beautiful fullness and generosity that spills richly across the senses. Blackberry syrup and cherry liqueur are followed by smoke, tar, toast and sweet chewing tobacco. You taste that extra density in a similar manner, and the rich concentration of the fruit has consequently shaped a more apparent tannin and a little snap of astringency on the close. My sample bottle does not show a reading of the wine's alcoholic content, but you feel some heat as well. This edition of L'Apparita is extra dark, succulent and firm. When the wine has been given another five to ten years of cellar age, then I'd suggest guinea fowl or one of those delicious roasted pigeon dishes you find in Tuscany. Some 7,300 bottles were made.
Lorenza Sebasti and Marco Pallanti decided to postpone the release of their 2017 Chianti Classic Gran Selezione San Lorenzo to next year, giving that wine six months more in the bottle before it hits the market. Sadly, due to decreased yields in 2017, its two sibling wines—the Chianti Classico Gran Selezioni Vigneto Bellavista and Vigneto La Casuccia—were not produced at all. Lorenza describes the vintage in this manner: "The vintage 2017 was unique, it was hot but with a very small crop, an extreme lightness of the grapes and very little must inside. We made wines that are very concentrated. We achieved the elegance of Castello di Ama, but the wines have less roundness and silky tannins than usual. These are majestic expressions that will appeal to those who love powerful wines. For this reason, we believe that it is best to enjoy the Castello di Ama 2017 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione San Lorenzo after a longer aging period." The blended red Haiku and the Merlot-based L'Apparita better managed the heat of the vintage, offering muscle and grace. Castello di Ama is famous for its hospitality, and both the Villa and the restaurant remain closed until the end of May due to the coronavirus pandemic. The old tasting room was demolished, and a new structure called L'Arca is being built. The new building will consist of two floors, with the main floor dedicated to welcoming guests, tasting and lecture rooms and a projection room for art installations. The bottom floor, located underground at the same level of the barrel room, will be used to house a library selection of wines. Castello di Ama plans to put aside at least 50,000 bottles (of various formats) for aging and release 10 years after the harvest. A two-hectare plot of vines in the San Lorenzo Valley is being replanted, and a 20-year lease was renewed.- Monica Larner